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Sunday in the Park with George

This recording of a live performance of Stephen Sondheim's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical is brimming with genius. The sublime Mandy Patinkin stars in this fictional speculation on the life of impressionist painter George Seraut, and the trouble that he -- like most artists -- has reconciling his obsessive vision with those who love him. The music and lyrics are courageous and heart-breaking, and it's rapture to watch Patinkin and Peters perform together. Too bad writer/director James Lapine's bits of dialog between the songs are leaden, gimmicky, and slow the whole thing down. A great addition to the Sondheim fanatic's video shelf, but no replacement for the pristine joys of the Original Cast Recording available on CD. The image on this disc is adequate (it was originally shot on broadcast video) and is presented in standard 1.33:1. The first act suffers from a few too many shimmers, artifacts, and image freezes (even dropping a line of dialog in one scene). The 2.0 Dolby sound on the disc is a great improvement over its VHS counterpart, and makes this live recording sound as crisp and clear as possible. Comes with production notes and an indispensable commentary track with Sondheim, Patinkin, Peters, and Lapine.

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